William Hogarth

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William Hogarth, (London, England 1697-1764), was one of the great British artists of the 18th Century. He became well known for his pictorial and editorial engravings, which were cartoon-like (also known as sequential art), and less known for his paintings, portraits, murals, and aesthetic art commentaries. He was first apprenticed as a silver engraver in 1713 and then went on to engravings on copper for book illustrations and shop cards in the 1720’s. After that, he went on to more formal art training at private academies and began painting by 1728. He first made his name with the paintings, the 'Beggar's Opera' in 1729, and married his wife, the daughter of Sir Thomas Thornhill that same year. Not making enough money with paintings and portraits, he soon pioneered a new type of story-telling in the early 1730’s with a series of engravings referred to as “modern moral subjects”, which brought him fame and notoriety throughout Europe.

Hogarth often depicted politics and moral customs in a satirical light. Some of his more famous series were; A Harlot's Progress (1732-being his first series), A Rake's Progress (1735), Marriage à la Mode (1745), and Industry and Idleness (1747). His early engravings were so successful that they soon were copied and plagiarized, which led Hogarth to lobby for the Copyright Act of 1735. He later went on to found the first public display of British art at the London Foundling Hospital in 1747, and also wrote a book on aesthetic art principles, The Analysis of Beauty in 1753. Within four years, he was appointed Sergeant Painter to King George II. Hogarth’s last engraving “The Bathos”, was published in 1764 just before his death. Many of his original paintings and engravings are in museums worldwide. Some of his more famous engravings can be found in The British Museum of London, and a few of his well known satirical paintings (“The Gate of Calais”, or “O the Roast Beef of Old England!” ) are in the National Gallery, London.